Until the final diagnosis is made, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and rest to relieve symptoms. Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles may also be recommended. In many cases, nonsurgical methods are effective in relieving symptoms and healing the injured structures. If these nonsurgical measures are insufficient, your doctor may recommend surgery.
How is a torn shoulder treated with surgery?
Depending upon your injury, your doctor may perform a traditional, open procedure, or an arthroscopic procedure in which small incisions and miniature instruments are used.
During arthroscopic surgery, the doctor will examine the rim and the biceps tendon. If the injury is confined to the rim itself, without involving the tendon, the shoulder is still stable. The surgeon will remove the torn flap and correct any other associated problems.
If the tear extends into the biceps tendon or if the tendon is detached, the biceps tendon may be considered unstable. The surgeon will need to repair or transfer the tendon to a safer location using absorbable tacks, screws, or sutures.
Tears below the middle of the socket are also associated with shoulder instability. The surgeon will reattach the ligament and tighten the shoulder socket by folding over and "pleating" the tissues.
This procedure may be done arthroscopically or open with a small incision on the front of the shoulder.